409 Main Street • Niantic, CT 06357 • Phone: 860-691-1111 • Fax: 860-691-1194
Our Building Better Boys initiative consists of a three pronged approach: advocacy – publicizing and educating the community about the issues surrounding boys’ underachievement; curriculum development – partnering with local school systems to devise ways to engage boys in the classroom; and museum programming and facilities – developing programming and exhibits at the museum to engage boys and inspire a lifelong love of learning.
First of all, some background: while the last twenty years have seen huge and long overdue strides in the achievement of girls and women, boys have not fared so well. Women in the United States now earn 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 52 percent of doctorates. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to flunk or drop out of school; when it comes to grades and homework, girls outperform boys in elementary, secondary, high school, college, and even graduate school and boys are four to five times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to the U.S. Department of Education, boys make up two-thirds of the students in special education, are five times more likely to be classified as hyperactive, and, according to the CDC, teenage boys are five times more likely to commit suicide than teenage girls.
Here are links to some excellent articles on the topic.
President Obama has recognized the challenges facing boys with his My Brother's Keeper initiative and a number of Connecticut cities, including New Haven and Hartford, have signed on. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is also a partner. For our society to be successful, all our citizens must have the chance to succeed, boys and girls, men and women alike.
Our first advocacy related event, for which we are seeking funding, is part of a “Kids Matter” lecture series and will focus on the specific needs of boys. It will be held as a breakfast meeting and will feature Peg Tyre, author of The Trouble with Boys, and
The Good School. She has also written for The Atlantic and Politico, among other publications. http://www.pegtyre.com
Governor Malloy has been invited and has indicated his willingness to attend, subject to his schedule. The museum has talked with other community organizations such as Mystic Seaport, Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Community Coalition for Children, to help promote the event. These entities have indicated strong interest in this subject and a desire to pursue areas of collaboration. We continue to reach out to other groups involved with delivery of services to children.
The event will be held at the New London Holiday Inn. We anticipate attendance of 60-80. The format of the program would be registration and breakfast from 7:30-8:15, opening remarks, speaker Peg Tyre from 8:15--9:00 AM. Governor Malloy to speak at 9:00 AM and then closing remarks. We would promote the event with mailed invitations to individuals within groups identified as having an interest in this issue. We would also work with local community groups to promote the event.
We plan to make this breakfast an annual event. Boys’ underachievement is a problem that crosses socioeconomic and ethnic boundaries and deserves the attention of the community at large. Support from the Community Foundation is vital to our effort; it would allow us to make a successful start in bringing attention and resources to this pressing issue.